God Has Chosen to Live With Us
I find that the greatest mystery of Faith is not belief in the Resurrection, or the Assumption of Our Lady but in what we can see and yet what we cannot see, unless we are given great faith.
The most profound, to my mind, of these mysteries is that which we encounter every time we step into a Church. Every time we walk into a Church we walk into the Presence of God. Every Catholic Church around the World houses the Lord God of Hosts in the Tabernacle. Every time we walk into a Church, God is truly present to us.
Nurturing and building up our faith and the faith of others is about recognising this one simple truth - that God is mysteriously present in the Tabernacle, in the Blessed Sacrament - really, totally, substantially, utterly God. This is why Catholics have, until relatively recently, always and everywhere, genuflected towards the Tabernacle because, inside those doors, is God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I find it terribly sad when I go to Catholic Churches and the Tabernacle is tucked away in a side chapel, away from the centre of the Church because at the centre of the Church is Jesus Christ. Without the Blessed Sacrament, a Church would have no life at all. There would be no reason for going to Mass, nor for going into a Church, even, to pray.
We can cultivate our Faith by genuflecting on one knee before the Tabernacle, in recognition of Jesus Christ. We can pray before the Tabernacle, even when the Lord is not exposed, because we know that through those small doors, is Jesus.
We can make the Church a place of prayer, the House of Prayer, that Our Lord furiously stated that it should be when He drove out the money changers from the Temple in Jerusalem. If liturgy is not prayerful then it is not recollected and solemn liturgy. If a Church is not a House of Prayer then what is it?
The Reality of the Real Presence is at the centre of Pope Benedict XVI's liturgical reforms and we would do well to recognise that unless when we walk into a Church, we behave as if Jesus is there, recognising Him behind those doors, then we will not cultivate even the small mustard seed of faith that in our possession. The Sacred is already there, in every Church. It is up to us, as lay people, to cultivate and create the sense of the Sacred for ourselves and others, but most of all for Jesus Christ, so that He can be worshipped 'in spirit and in truth'. The Lord Jesus does not want to be ignored in the Tabernacle and we, we can only be happy when our restless hearts find rest in Him.
Worship and prayer are not separate from our bodily gestures and our pause for reflection on the Real Presence of God in the Church will do us spiritual good, increase our faith and increase the faith of others. We must not push Our Blessed Lord to the side, or ignore Him when we are in His presence, or behave as if we are in just another space or place, pretend that He is not there or forget that He truly is. If we do that, then we will miss the greatest mystery of all - that God has chosen, not just once, but until the End of Time itself, to live with us, to dwell in our midst. If we miss that, we miss the point entirely, of God's sublime condescension and God's breathtaking love, for us. This is why Pope Benedict XVI desires to see the liturgy reformed - so that it reflects the awe-inspiring mystery of God's love and His Real Presence among us.
We can remember this even when we walk past a Church and say a prayer, to which, I believe, a plenary indulgence is attached (it certainly was)...
May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, be adored, loved and glorified, in every Tabernacle, in every Church, at every hour, in the whole World, now until the end of time. Amen.
How can they say there can be no Heaven on Earth when God Himself has already chosen to live here? He Who is totally transcendent, beyond time and comprehension, lives in our time, in the Tabernacle. Not just once did God humble himself, by becoming Man for our sake! No, not once did He humble Himself, but daily He humbles Himself to the point of living in our midst, in every Church, 'even until the End of Time'!